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This Halloween — don’t even think of Drinking and Driving

The increased numbers of those arrested for driving under the influence since last week Wednesday is in connection with the DUI enforcement being conducted by the Traffic Division with the Department of Public Safety.

Nine people arrested over the weekend and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol made their initial appearance in the District Court yesterday, while Captain Ta’aloloioufaiva John Cendrowski said the enforcement which started last week Wednesday will be concluded the day after this year’s general election, Nov. 7 — next week. He added that the DUI enforcement coincided with Moso’oi Week last week, Halloween (tomorrow) and the General Election next week.

Capt. Ta’aloloioufaiva said this enforcement also targets intensive, high-visibility enforcement of seat belt laws, child restraint violators, occupant safety on vehicles, also people riding on the bed box of a vehicle, children who are unsupervised while in the bed of the vehicle, and speed violators.  He said driving under the influence of alcohol will not be tolerated.

He added that police officers will be conducting traffic stops to catch offenders and spread the word that drinking and driving don’t mix.

Police officers will also be conducting sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols and they are looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated. He explained that those who drive under the influence of alcohol present a potential danger to every motorist, passenger and pedestrian the driver encounters.

Capt. Ta’aloloioufaiva pointed out that two months ago two men who were allegedly under the influence of alcohol were behind the wheel and got into major accidents where people were injured as a result. “Luckily there was no fatality, however the accidents could have been worse. But that is the end result of drunk driving,” he said.

It is very important that our people know the risk they take when they operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The traffic captain reiterated that many people believe that after a few drinks they're still safe to drive. “However, even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time, putting not only yourself at risk, but everyone on the road in grave danger.”

Capt. Ta’aloloioufaiva appeals to members of the public to please bear in mind that this Wednesday is Halloween and the children will be everywhere trick-or-treating.

“Please don’t drink and drive, have a designated driver and please watch out for the young ones who will be walking on the sidewalks and walking from door to door trick-or-treating.

“Parents please hold on to your child when on the sidewalk or near the road and watch out for vehicles on the main road when out trick or treating with your child” he said.

Cpt. Ta’aloloioufaiva reminded members of the public to report impaired drivers to the police by calling 911 or 633-1111.

He reminds everyone to “always buckle up, in every ride” regardless of your seating position in the vehicle, because it’s your best defense against an impaired driver.

Close to 20 police officers with the traffic division are working 12 hour days during this enforcement.